Women's Soccer Vies For Second In Big Ten
Oct. 16, 2000
After a terrific weekend, which included sweeps of Indiana and Purdue, the Illini are in position to finish no worse than a tie for second in the Big Ten. Illinois travels to Iowa Friday for the final Big Ten game of the year. Illinois takes a 10-5 overall record and 6-3 Big Ten mark in Friday's battle with the Hawkeyes.
ILLINI POST SCHOOL RECORD EIGHTH SHUTOUT
With shutouts of Purdue and Indiana this week, the Illini set a school record for shutouts in a season. The Illini have shutout eight of the 15 opponents this season. Illinois has been shut out on just three occasions this season.
FOR THE RECORD...
With three regular season games remaining plus the post-season, Illinois can break the all-time single-season wins record with victories in those three contests. Illinois posted a 12-8 mark in 1998 and 12-8-2 record in '99. The Illini could also set a record for fewest losses in a year.
The Illini have shattered their previous best Big Ten mark. At 6-3, Illinois now has three more conference victories than it had in both '98 and '99.
After coming into the season with a career 1-11-2 record on the road in the Big Ten. Illinois has a 2-2 mark on the road this year in conference play.
Illinois will play two fewer regular season games than it did last year, but the Illini are on pace to shattering the all-time team record for shots in a season. Currently the team has 337 shots, 168 have been on goal.
The Illini have three straight shutouts in Big Ten play, the first time that has happened in school history.
LAURA FREEMAN LEADS BENCH SURGE
One of the strengths of this Illinois team has been its bench play. That was especially evident this weekend when sophomore forward Laura Freeman scored three goals (two vs. Indiana) in reserve over the weekend. Freeman isn't the only reserve to make significant contributions this weekend. Part-time starter Tiffani Walker scored a goal Friday while freshman Abby Goodman notched her first career assist and Kristen Holman had and an assist off a corner kick. Kelly Walker, Julie Schueller, and Laura Lantz also saw some qualities minutes in reserve this weekend.
Illinois is ranked No. 5 in the Great Lakes Region. This is the highest ranking the Illini have had this late in the season. The Illini still haven't cracked the Top 25 rankings. Illinois defeated Marquette, the team ranked No. 2 in the region, 3-1, in a pre-season exhibition game.The Illini also have wins over Michigan State (No. 6) and Evansville (No. 9) during the regular season.
Great Lakes Region Rankings (Oct. 16) --
1. Notre Dame (15-0), 2. Marquette (13-2-1), 3. Michigan (8-6), 4. Wisconsin (11-5), 5. Illinois (10-5), 6. Michigan State (9-3-2), 7. Kentucky (11-4), 8. Cincinnati (11-5), 9. Evansville (10-4-2), 10. Dayton (11-4) and Iowa (10-6).
Updated Big Ten Standings (Oct. 16) --
1. Penn State (8-0). 2. Illinois (6-3) 2. Michigan (6-3) 2. Wisconsin (6-3) 5. Minnesota (4-4) 6. Michigan State (4-4-1) 7. Iowa (4-5) 7. Purdue (4-5) 9. Northwestern (2-6) 10. Indiana (1-7-1) 11. Ohio State (1-8) Friday's Games -- Indiana at Purdue, Illinois at Iowa, Northwestern at Michigan, Minnesota at Wisconsin, Ohio State at Penn State, Penn State at Michigan State (Oct. 27).
ANDERSON STARTS IN GOAL VS. PURDUE AND OHIO STATE
Sarah Anderson started her fourth and fifth games this season in goal. Anderson has a 5-0 overall record in those starts with 18 saves. She has three shutouts and holds a 0.41 goals against average. Anderson and junior AnneMarie Hennes have split time in goal for Illinois after a season-ending injury to starter Sarah Heggen following the third game of the year.
ELVIS SIGHTING Emily 'Elvis' Brown continues to stand out on offense for Illinois. Brown scored here 10th and 11th goal of the year and 41st and 42nd goals of her career Sunday against Purdue.
Brown continues to back her claim as one of the most dangerous players in the Big Ten. Brown has scored goals in nine of her last ten games.
Brown, who is especially potent on balls in the air, holds every Illini record imaginable. After scoring a school-record 18 goals last year and 13 goals the year before, she has 11 goals already this season.
Even as a junior Brown is fifth on the all-time Big Ten goals scoring list, Rachel Hoffman of Penn State holds the record with 58 goals from 1994-97.
Last year Brown set the Illinois record for goals in the most consecutive games by scoring in five straight. Brown has a goal in 21 of the Illini's 36 games over the past two seasons.
With the goal vs. Purdue, Brown now has a goal against nine of the other ten Big Ten schools (all except Indiana)
ILLINI OUT-SHOOT OPPONENTS
Illinois has consistently fired more shots than their opponents this season, combining for a Big Ten leading 337 shots. Nearly half (144) of those shots have been on goal. The Illini are well on their way to shattering last year's school-record total of 359 shots in the 22-game season. In fact, the Illini have out-shot their opponents in 14 of 15 games . Opponents have just shots in 15 games. Last year Illinois led opponents in shots 359-240 compared to 391-212 in 1998 and 235-185 in 1997.
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The Illini moved into a third-place tie with Michigan at 5-3 in the Big Ten, just 1/2 game behind Wisconsin (6-3) for second in the league. Illinois also ties a school record with its seventh shutout of the season.
Illinois freshman Sarah Anderson started her second straight game and posted her second shutout in a row. Anderson was tested, especially in the second half, but managed seven saves.
With the stakes high for conference tournament seeding and NCAA aspirations, the game was extremely physical. Purdue (16) and Illinois (15) combined for 31 fouls and two Purdue players received yellow card cautions. The first yellow came on a foul on Illinois' Hollie Schurr in the goal box. That set up a penalty kick try by Illinois' Colleen Joyce, who was successful in notching her six goal of the season.
Illinois' second goal was as pretty as it gets. Heidi Holtzman served up a ball to Lisa Baldwin, who went to the right side of the goal and kicked it in from a tough angle at 27:36. The Illini are deeper than they have been in the past. As a result, Head Coach Tricia Taliaferro can bring some fresh legs off the bench. That happened late in the first half when Laura Freeman came off the bench at the forward spot, fought off two defenders, split those defenders and then fired a ball from 15 yards out for the third goal with just 5:15 remaining in the first half, making it 3-0.
For Lisa Baldwin, the second-leading goal scorer a year ago, it was fitting for her to score her first goal of the year. Her unselfish play has resulted in a team leading five assists.
For the 13th time in 14 games, Illinois led in shots on goal (18-12), but the Illini defense was equally as impressive. Anderson showed some maturity in grabbing a couple of cross attempts in mid air amidst traffic. Sue Hodson cleared a ball off a Purdue corner kick late in the second half to help preserve the victory. Rebecca Patrick, Meghan Kolze and Holtzman were also up to the task.
Freshman Tiffani Walker started her sixth game of the year and had one of her best outings. Outrunning defenders, Walker fired a pair of shots that went high. Late in the second, the Illini nearly executed an impressive goal. Off an indirect kick, Hollie Schurr fed Walker who broke toward the box and headed the ball in, but Purdue's Elizabeth Boldt made the save.
With its third straight shutout (a 5-0 win) and school-record eighth shutout of the season, Illinois improves to 6-3 in the Big Ten, good for a tie for second place in the Big Ten with Wisconsin and Michigan, and 10-5 overall.
"I'm really thrilled with the way we're playing," said Taliaferro. "We're getting hungry and we're starting to finish some of these opportunities that we have created throughout the whole year."
The Illini scored early and often against the Hoosiers, led by all-time scoring leader Emily Brown. The junior scored the first two Illinois goals, the first coming just 6:59 into the contest. Illinois ran the fast break with extreme precision. Meghan Kolze began the break feeding Colleen Joyce on the side, Joyce then found Emily Brown in front of the net for the easy tap in.
Lisa Baldwin notched her team-leading sixth assist at the 21:27 mark of the contest on an entry pass that deflected off an Indiana player. Brown dug it out of the air and knocked it home, making it 2-0 Illinois. Brown now has 11 goals this year and 42 for her career.
Depth is becoming an extremely valuable tool for Illinois. Tiffani Walker had a strong weekend. After totaling four shots on Friday, Walker added another four on Sunday, three on goal. She scored at 68:01 beating three defenders down the field after getting a pass from freshman Abby Goodman then fired a shot past Indiana goalkeeper Shaunna Daugherty, making it 3-0.
"Tiffani has been going over some video and wanting to learn how she can get balls in the back of the net," Taliaferro said. "I'm really pleased that she was able to finish today."
Laura Freeman, who came off the bench to score just before half against Purdue Friday, added two goals on Sunday. Two minutes after Walker's goal, Freeman scored just inside the right post, then notched her third goal of the weekend by putting home a nice ball by Kristen Holman off a corner kick.
"We worked really well together today and that was key," Freeman said. "We worked it around a lot, and that led to many opportunities to score. We have a really deep bench, and I think that's what makes us the team what we are. We push each other in practice."
The Illini had even more opportunities. A header by Walker from point blank range was saved by a diving Daugherty. Another ball hit the post. Illinois out-shot Indiana 22-7. Sarah Anderson recorded her third shutout in a row in goal, lowering her goals against average to 0.41.